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Former Virginia attorney indicted on multiple fraud charges

November 17, 2020 GMT

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a former Virginia attorney on charges that she defrauded elderly clients out of money which she used to buy real estate and make charitable donations, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Cherie Anne Washburn, 44, of Lynchburg, Virginia, is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of making a false statement to a mortgage lender and one count of mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Virginia said in a news release. If convicted, Washburn faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

Court documents said that between 2015 and 2018, Washburn defrauded two victims by gaining power of attorney and writing herself multiple checks, and also made herself the beneficiary of one of her victims’ two investment accounts.

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Specifically, the indictment alleges that despite the power of attorney agreement, Washburn wrote multiple checks from the victims’ accounts to herself, ranging in value from $4,200 to $40,000.

The indictment also alleges that in 2017, Washburn attempted to improperly make herself the beneficiary of two investment accounts held by one of the victims. At the time, the accounts had a combined approximate value of $288,000, according to the indictment.